FC Wisconsin’s in-house leagues have always been well received by the club’s older players, with bragging rights on the line in the U15-U18 Player’s Champions League where games are always fiercely competitive, fun, and great development experiences during the winter months. This year, however, the club's younger players got in on the act with the U11-U12 FC Wisconsin Winter Girl’s League being played for the first time.
Every Sunday during February and March, the club’s U11 and U12 Pre-ECNL players competed against each other in a futsal / indoor 5v5 format. The players were assigned teams by the coaches, but they were challenged to organize and lead the teams themselves - including substitutions, tactical concepts to focus on each game, and in-game adjustments. Feedback was given from the coaches when needed, but ultimately the players were in control and asked to take responsibility for their performance, learning, and improvement.
The result was clear: it was a fantastic environment of learning and competition. The FC Wisconsin Winter Girls League games were competitive, high-scoring, and showcased the style of play every FC Wisconsin player must aspire to - and the concepts layered in through the year of training were clearly expressed.
"Similar to our fall in-house league, these games allowed us to elevate the environment for our players,” said Pre-ECNL Director Monica Gonyo. “Outside competition exposes our players to different challenges, but with our in-house games - especially in these young ages - we can insure that both teams are playing in a developmentally appropriate manner that prioritizes thinking and problem-solving. The players obviously want to win, and that mentality is important, but they understand that performance is the first priority.”
“As the club continues to grow we hope to offer more opportunities like this as a supplement to training,” added Youth Director of Coaching Andy Lee. “With our in-house competition we can manipulate the environment to suit specific developmental needs, and to insure that we are always cognitively challenging the players to find solutions. For example we can adjust the number of players, alter the laws of the game, such as allowing players to dribble in rather than throw in. All of these things can create unique challenges for the players that they can’t get in other games.”
The quality of play in the FC Wisconsin Winter League was fantastic, and this video shows you what players can do in an environment where they are challenged to see, think, and decide on their own!